Eyewitness Testimony & Lineup Identification

Our research in this area has focused on several important factors that influence both recall of information by witnesses and the likelihood of subsequent identification of the perpetrator from a photographic lineup.  We approach each of these issues from within both basic research and more applied eyewitness paradigms, with the intent of applying basic theories of memory in understanding factors that influence eyewitness performance.  A brief description of each phenomenon is provided below with links to detailed descriptions and representative publications from our research team.

          Cross-Racial Identification

Faces of one's own race are better remembered when compared with faces of another, less familiar race.  This phenomenon is often referred to as the "cross-race effect" or "own-race bias," and has been demonstrated across a variety of memory tasks (e.g., recognition, identification, forced choice, etc.), in both adults and children and across a variety of ethnic groups (e.g., White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc.). 

To read more about our research on cross-racial identification please click here

         The Description-Identification Relationship & "Verbal Overshadowing"

An individuals' ability to describe a face does not always relate to their ability to identify a face.  Similarly, the processes that govern face descriptions vs. identification appear distinct.  Our research has continued to examine this description-identification relationship through the "verbal overshadowing" effect -- the finding that describing a face via verbal description can subsequently impair identification of that face from a lineup. 

To read more about our research on the description-identification relationship and Verbal Overshadowing please click here

         Theoretical & Practical Issues governing Eyewitness Lineup Identification

Research suggests that erroneous eyewitness identification is the primary factor underlying wrongful conviction in the United States.  Our research has sought to both identify procedures that might alleviate the likelihood of misidentification and to understand the cognitive and social psychological processes that govern identification as a function of both system and estimator variables. 

To read more about our research on theoretical and practical issues governing Eyewitness Lineup Identification please click here


Investigative Interviewing Research Laboratory
Eyewitness Memory  *  Detecting Deception  *  Interrogations & Confessions

Experimental Stimuli